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"Whoops, there goes another rubber tree plant!"—High Hopes, song
Ants are able to carry several times their own body weight. In fiction, especially in cartoons, this is exaggerated for fun, making them able to carry a whole pie/banana/chicken/watermelon/whatever. Often, they'll steal some picknickers' food. This sometimes applies to giant ants, in blatant defiance of the Square-Cube Law. That itself is responsible for the fact that normal-sized ants have such good lifting abilities.
Essentially, Hollywood Logic goes, "If normal ants can carry big loads despite their small size, huge ants can carry enormous loads!", whereas Real Life Logic goes, "Ants can carry relatively big loads because of their small size."
- There's a Hard Yakka ad that features ants chanting the name as they carry away large food items.
- Happens in a horrifying manner in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, where a horde of carnivorous ants carries an unfortunate Soviet soldier into their nest. While colonies of ants are known to carry large prey back home, an entire human being getting dragged head-first into an ant nest is a bit much.
- Mark Twain once wrote in a story that although ants are very strong, they're also very stupid.
- The Animorphs once turned into ants to steal Yeerk tech for Ax. It was unpleasant.
- One Far Side comic had an army of ants carry a baby. Originally it was supposed to be an adult man, but his editor didn't allow it.
- Fifth-gen Pokémon include Durant, which is quite powerful, quite durable, and also a Steel-type, so pretty much the only thing that works against it at all is fire. Naturally, there's a fire-spewing anteater Pokemon in the same dungeon, which is indicated to feed on Durant.
- Normally in many early cartoons ants are portrayed as a single-file line that has a "Determinator" quality. They have two versions, the first being that they don't stop for anything and pick up anything that happens to be in their way. The second being food hunters that won't stop until their desired target is obtained. They both are usually unstoppable, are a plot driving force, and defy physics by marching up perfectly flat surfaces or carrying objects MORE than 10 times their size. Occasionally a colony may also be portrayed as an army, with a commander and everything.
- Some Donald Duck cartoons have this trope, including one in which a whole colony of ants comes and picks up a sleeping Donald and carries him away.
- Launchpad McQuack of DuckTales and Darkwing Duck fame isn't impressed by this: "Who cares? Anybody could lift 10 times an ant's weight."
- The Ant and the Aardvark, by the makers of The Pink Panther cartoon series.
- Taken to extremes with The Atom Ant Show.
- One of the most famous Garfield and Friends episodes featured this as the plot, complete with infectious Ear Worm. Two later episodes had callbacks to it.
- Sesame Street
- An animated insert had a woman laying out a picnic of "p" foods (pumpkin, pot roast, etc.). Unknown to her, ants carried the foods away as she took them out of the basket. At the end, a group of ants carry the woman away.
- In another Sesame Street sketch, the Count counted the ants that invaded his picnic and took his food away.
- Jimmy Two-Shoes has the Gnormans, which are basically the Miseryville equivelent of ants, who possess Super Strength.
- Ant of Word World is very strong.
- Discussed in The Venture Bros by Dr. Entmann.
Dr. Entmann: And let me tell you somethin' about ants! You know that whole "Ants can lift a hundred times their own weight" thing? It's a myth! Think about it. What's an ant weigh? Like, nothin'. What's nothin' times a hundred? ...It's nothin'!